We often receive questions from customers who are debating whether they should install laminate or vinyl plank flooring in their home. Although both flooring types can look nearly indistinguishable from one another, there are important differences between the two that should drive your decision to go with one over the other.
Laminate flooring is a multi-layer synthetic flooring material which is available in several different styles and the top printed layer can visually mirror the look of a hardwood floor (see above). The inner core of laminate flooring planks typically consists of a fiber board material which adds to the durability of this flooring type. In addition to durability, laminate flooring is resistant to wear over time and is less likely to fade in color than vinyl. However one drawback to laminate flooring is that it is often times not water-resistant and should not be exposed to heavy humidity or standing water. Due to its durability and lack of water-resistance, laminate flooring is often a great flooring choice for living rooms, dining rooms, and parlors and not kitchens or bathrooms.
Although aesthetically similar, vinyl plank flooring differs from laminate in many ways. Vinyl flooring is constructed using flexible vinyl-based material which makes it less rigid than laminate. The core materials are water-resistant, which makes this flooring type ideal for living areas which are more likely to be exposed to water or moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Vinyl plank is also more flexible than laminate, which is great for installing in a home which has some settling. However due to its flexibility imperfections in subfloors become more obvious with vinyl plank flooring than laminate. Vinyl plank is also great for apartments and condos because it insulates against sound and acoustics better than laminate.
Both laminate and vinyl plank flooring offer their own advantages which should be considered before selecting between the two materials!